Manjū netsuke depicting the gods Daikoku and Ebisu dressed as manzai dancers

Details

  • Catalogue text

    Manjū netsuke with a lively design carved in sunken relief of two of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune (Shichifukujin) posing as street entertainers. Daikoku, his mallet tucked into his belt, beats a drum as Ebisu, fan in hand, dances to the rhythm.

    Ikkosai Kōjitsu (1833-1893) specialised in the carving of ivory manjū netsuke, after joining the Hōjitsu School in Tōkyō. The great Ansei earthquake and fire in Tōkyō in 1854 destroyed large numbers of netsuke and in order to replace them in a less time-consuming way, a cirle of ivory was cut and the basic shape turned on a lathe. The carved decoration was then added by hand. Although the shape existed before, many of this type date from after the disaster. The name manjū refers to the shape of bean-cakes.

    The Barnett bequest, of which this netsuke is representative, was given to the museum after the publication of Japanese Netsuke in Oxford in 1987.

    In: Impey, Oliver, and Joyce Seaman, Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2005)

Glossary of terms

Manjū

manzai

netsuke

Further reading

Impey, Oliver, and Joyce Seaman, Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2005), no. 52 on p. 108, illus. p. 109

Seaman, Joyce, Manjū: Netsuke from the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2013), no. 40 on pp. 106-108, illus. p. 109

Reference URL

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